In the everyday world it goes like this – your ISP gives you an IP address and then your wireless router shares it to all the devices connected to the network. This is fine, but we can say that if the number of internet users continues to grow we will run out of these IP addresses one day.
There is a Limited Number of Public IP addresses
Every single day more and more devices get connected to the Internet – laptops, computers, tablets, smartphones, and the list goes on. So, when we do a little Math we can definitely say that there are less unique IP addresses than connected devices. We are in trouble and here is what is being done – your ISP gives you a public IP and then your router assigns an IP to every single connected device in the network. You have to agree that this is far better than getting an IP address from your ISP every time you want to connect a new device.
What is the Difference between a Public and Private IP address
When your PC or laptop goes online it gets a unique public IP address. This IP is generally different every time you connect to the Internet. When the PC gets connected then your router shares the public IP to all the computers and devices which are part of your network.
The router basically gives a, so called, local IP address to the devices in your network. With its help the devices can communicate with each other and everything is being completed behind the router. This means that the IP addresses the router gave to the devices can’t be accessed from the online world.
Let’s try to explain this. Your ISP gave you an IP address – let’s say 188.8.131.52. If someone online tries to connect to this specific IP address he or she will reach the wireless router. However, the router IP is probably 192.168.l.l, so when someone tries to reach your public IP, his PC will check for the IP 192.168.1.1 in the LAN network. The router IP address is called a private IP address and it can’t be reached from outside of the network.
Port Forwarding and NAT
Packets are being sent forth and back every time you try to connect to a certain website, for example. These packets are being sent through your router. It modifies those packets of data and uses a specific port for it. The router also receives packets of data to the same port when the website relies. So the router knows which packets of data to send and receive and forward. This is the way they function and they know which packets should be sent and to which PC or device.
However, when a device which is not part of your network tries to access the router, it discards such traffic and we can say that our router has some firewall options as well. However, if you want this traffic not to be discarded you should use port forwarding. You basically let your router know that you expect traffic from a specific port and a specific IP. Then the router recognizes this rule and forwards (allows) this traffic. So, if you use some apps and games which function like servers or use their functionalities, you should know what port forwarding is.
IP Address Conflict
As we have already mentioned the router assigns a unique IP address to every device in the network. So, if for some reason two or more devices in the network get the same IP then a so called IP conflict occurs and can make your network very unstable or even unusable. This is the reason why you have to know more about this problem, its causes and how you can fix it on your own.
Without an IP you won’t be able to join the network. When an IP conflict occurs, you will be notified with a message. In most cases, it is nothing serious and it will be fixed on its own quite soon. However, this doesn’t happen all the time.
While IP conflicts don’t occur in the online world, they occur from time to time in the Local Area Network. Basically any device with an IP address in the network can experience this conflict at least once.
There are two types of IP addresses. There are static IP addresses and dynamic ones. The static IP doesn’t change and the ISP assigns it manually to the user. On the other hand the dynamic one is temporary and whenever your PC or other device connects to the Internet it gets a new IP address.
Booth of these IP addresses can result in IP conflict. However, there are greater chanced for this to happen with a static IP because most routers have a built-in DHCP server. This DHCP server has the ability to manage and assign all the IP addresses in use in the network.
There are many reasons for an IP address conflict to occur. However, thanks again to the built-in DHCP server it doesn’t occur very often.
If there is another device in the network with DHCP capabilities it would be wise to switch it off and let the main one handle the IP conflict. Also, rebooting the router is one of the most common ways to resolve the IP conflict. Just switch it off, wait a little and switch it on again. Wait till it stabilizes and the built-in DHCP server will successfully fix the problem. You will be amazed with the number of possible PC problems you can resolve by restarting your computer or router. According to some sources nearly 95% are successfully resolved after the user had restarted the PC, router, smart phone and so on.
Additionally, it may happen that your ISP had given the same static IP you use, to another user. Although this won’t happen quite often there are some chances of a potential IP conflict especially if you get connected to a same network somehow.
Another possible reason of an IP conflict is a device which wakes up from sleep mode or hibernation. When it’s back on, and in the meantime you want it to connect to a network which already has this IP assigned, there is a solid base for an IP conflict. If you are wondering how this can happen, remember the time when you had to bring your laptop home from work to finish some things for tomorrow and you didn’t shut down your laptop. Sounds familiar, right?
Final Words about IP Conflicts
Since we connect additional devices to our wireless network every single day, the chances of an IP conflict to happen become higher. Although this issue won’t happen every day, it is good to know more about it and what you can do in order to fix it on your own. Remember, if you have an IP conflict almost every day make sure to upgrade your router firmware first. Most likely this will fix the problem for you.
We hope you know a bit more about the types of IP addresses and the potential problems related to them. If you have any other questions, feel free to comment below.